Law Students Get Law School Training in Brain Injury Law

I was recently contacted by Tulane University Law School Professor Francis Shen.  Professor Shen is authoring the first law school text book dealing exclusively with neuroscience and neurolaw.  I was asked to be interviewed for substance on the chapter dealing with traumatic brain injury.

This is the first effort of its kind:  putting the topics of brain injury, law, medicine and science into the minds of law students.  I applaud this effort.  If I had been offered a course like this in law school I would definitely have signed up.  As it was you only got a year of tort law (personal injury) required in the first year and then optional electives including Trial Practice, Remedies.  

My experience with law school 27 years ago is that students enter law school with ideas of what they would like to do when they are done –  type of practice or employment.  They then modify those ideas as they experience law school.  If you get great grades (top 10%) and make Law Review editorUniversity’s legal publication – then you are offered high paying jobs with large firms and you tend to go for the better pay instead of the practice you initially thought you were attracted to.  If once you wanted to run a legal aid clinic or help people in a public defender’s office – not high paying jobs – and then get offers from high paying firms, priorities tend to change.  And likewise if you dreamed of working for a large law firm with fancy conference rooms and all the trappings and high pay and get poor or average grades, you will not get high pay job offers; rather you end up working in the public defenders’ office or something similar.

I always wanted to practice tort or personal injury trial law.  At first I worked for a large (by Las Vegas standards) firm that defended insurance companies.  After gaining over a year of practical experience I started my solo practice fighting insurance companies and representing injury victims.  

A few years later I discovered the niche of neurolaw and neuroscience.  That is why I am so supportive of Professor Shen’s efforts with the law school text.  In the interview I shared my perspectives on:

  • preparing a case for trial,
  • what experts to use, and
  • how to present evidence at trial. 

I have been asked to offer comments on the text by reading rough drafts.  I am excited about making a contribution to this effort.